Brisbane Lions Academy and Redland Victoria Point Sharks player Raphael Geesu, has been awarded the 2023 Troy Clarke Scholarship, named after the late Brisbane Bear player and AFL Queensland Development Manager Troy Clarke.
The scholarship is designed to support a young person from regional Queensland who displays the core values Troy, a South Cairns junior, embodied during his football journey including dedication, passion and respect. The scholarship will specifically look to focus and improve Raphael’s football, education and personal development.
Troy’s wife Natalie presented the scholarship to Raphael at a ceremony hosted at AFL Queensland alongside AFL Queensland’s Talent Manager Mark Browning. Special guests included former Brisbane Bears and Lions player Richard Champion, Brisbane Lions Academy Manager Scott Pyle, Brisbane Lions Academy Head Coach Mitch Hahn, Brisbane Lions Indigenous Player Welfare Manager Anthony Corrie, and Gold Coast SUNS Academy Manager Kath Newman.
Originally from Palm Island, 16-year-old Raphael moved to Brisbane as a baby, growing up in care. However, at the age of seven, he befriended Will Butt, and became an integral part of the Butt family, who have supported his football journey from the outset, now as his Foster Carers.
Raphael was awarded the scholarship due to his exceptional football talent, speed and skill, and unique goal sense, which are draftable qualities in the future, and his determination in following the Queensland football talent pathway after overcoming personal challenges.
Playing with the Redland Victoria Point Sharks, he was awarded the Under 15s Best and Fairest this season, was a Schoolboys representative in 2022 and 2023, and represented the Brisbane Lions at the National Under 16 Championships in 2022 and 2023.
Raphael said he was honoured to be this year’s recipient of the Troy Clarke Scholarship.
“I’ve heard a lot of good things about Troy and I’m honoured to be named the 2023 Troy Clarke Scholarship recipient,” he said.
“I’m looking forward to learning and meeting a lot of different people, getting to know different systems and different teams.
“I’d like to thank Bob and Lee Butt who are a big part of my life as well as the Academy Coaches that have helped me on my pathway.”
Head of AFL Queensland Trisha Squires said, “Raphael is a young player whose football IQ exceeds his age, and he continues to excel on the field.”
“His achievements in football extend past the field, to his commitment to his own development and growth as a player and a person.
“We look forward to watching Raphael continue to pursue his football dreams with the support of the Troy Clarke Scholarship.”
Troy Clarke Scholarship Recipients
2023 – Raphael Geesu, Redland Victoria Point
2022 – Abbey Rankin, Moranbah
2020-21 – No award was presented due to Covid restrictions
2019 – Alana Gee, Mackay
2018 – Austin Harris, Cairns
2017 – Zimmorlei Farquarson, Darling Downs
2016 – Bruce Reville, Wide Bay
2015 – Dirk Koenen, Magnetic Island
2014 – Tom Matthews, Dalby
About the Troy Clarke Scholarship
In October 2013 Queensland’s AFL community lost one of its greats, with the tragic passing of then State Development Manager, Troy Clarke, aged 44.
An AFL Queensland Hall of Fame member, Clarke, played 68 games for the Brisbane Bears between 1991 and 1996 and was the only North Queenslander on the Queensland Team of the Century shortlist.
Clarke showed courage and commitment as a player, but it was his impact on footy after his retirement that will be his true legacy to the game.
To commemorate Clarke, AFL Queensland and the Clarke family launched The Troy Clarke Scholarship in 2014.
Troy consistently displayed wonderful values such as dedication, passion and respect and the scholarship aims to honour him by supporting a young person from regional Queensland who displays these same values.